UPDATE: Finland to close its last remaining border crossing point with Russia

Image of Frontex officers.

Image of Frontex officers. Credit: X@Frontex

UPDATE: Tuesday, November 28 at 11:41pm

THE final border crossing point between Finland and Russia is to be closed as of November 30, according to a statement issued by the Finnish border guard this Tuesday, November 28.

Today’s announcement came after an extraordinary government session.  The Raja-Jooseppi border point will subsequently remain closed until December 13.

As a result, it will not be possible to submit applications for international protection at any border crossing points on the country’s land border with Russia.

Following the decision, in a statement from the Ministry of the Interior, Petteri Orpo, the Finnish Prime Minister said: ‘Russia is enabling the instrumentalisation of people and guiding them to the Finnish border in harsh winter conditions. Finland is determined to put an end to this phenomenon’.

Mari Rantanen, the Minister of the Interior, added: ‘In the current situation, it is necessary to close the entire eastern border. We have taken this decision to protect Finland’s national security against this Russian hybrid operation’.

Did the previous border closures work?

As the Ministry pointed out, despite earlier restrictions, entry into Finland at the eastern border has continued. This instrumentalised migration and the risk of its escalation pose a serious threat to national security and public order according to the assessment of the Government and Finnish authorities, .

Almost 1,000 third-country nationals have reportedly arrived in Finland without a visa via the border crossing points at the eastern border since the beginning of August. Most of them applied for asylum in Finland.

Finland’s government concluded that these are very exceptional circumstances as referred to in the statement of the Constitutional Law Committee.

In such very exceptional circumstances, it deemed the short-term total closure of the eastern border to be a necessary and proportionate measure to put an end to this phenomenon and to limit the serious consequences that it has for national security and public order.

———————————————————————-

UPDATE: Thursday, November 23 at 3:51 pm

THE EU is ready to deploy Frontex around 50 border guard officers and other staff to Finland, along with equipment such as patrol cars, to help bolster the situation at border crossings with Russia.

On Wednesday, Hans Leijtens, the executive director of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency tweeted: ‘At today’s #Frontex Management Board meeting we’ll be discussing the additional support our agency will provide to Finland at its borders’.

Ylva Johansson, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs also wrote: ‘To Finland we say: “The Finnish border is the EU’s border. The European Union is behind you. You can count on our full support”‘.

In a post this Thursday, November 23, Frontex explained: ‘We’re ready to provide additional support to bolster Finland’s borders  #Frontex plans to deploy 50 #EUborderguard officers and other staff, along with patrol cars, to support Finland’s border control activities as soon as next week’.

The agency added: ‘#Frontex will provide border surveillance officers, support for registering migrants, document experts and interpreters. Finland’s external borders are also the EU’s borders, making their security a matter of collective European concern’.

This deployment could take place as early as next Wednesday, 29 November, to expand the current Frontex Joint Operation Terra 2023 in Finland the agency confirmed in a statement. There are already 10 Frontex working at the Finnish borders.

—————————————————————–

Wednesday, November 22 at 5:31 pm

FINLAND is preparing to leave only one checkpoint open on the border with Russia, in the very north of the country.

The Raja-Jooseppi crossing, located in the municipality of Inari, will become the only accessible point between the two countries following a decision today to close three of the four points that were originally closed last weekend.

Four crossings were closed last Friday 17, which prompted angry protests outside the parliament building in Helsinki the next day.

A new draft proposal by the the Ministry of the Interior to tighten border crossings in the eastern part of the country was approved by Mikko Puumalainen, the deputy Chancellor of Justice earlier today, according to hs.fi.

‘The Deputy Chancellor of Justice has evaluated the draft decision and the draft memorandum submitted today from the point of view of legality supervision’, read a statement sent to the news outlet.

It explained: ‘A confidential memorandum related to the matter was also available. Based on the documents, there is no legal obstacle to the further preparation of the substantive decision proposed’.

Why did the previous draft decision come to an end?

Because of the Deputy Chancellor of Justice, the government’s previous draft decision stopped on Tuesday 21. According to the information received by the newspaper, the government’s aim was to close the eastern border to asylum seekers completely.

According to Puumalainen, the previous proposal did not contain sufficient guarantees that the decision would preserve the genuine and effective possibility to apply for international protection secured in the Constitution, EU law, the European Convention on Human Rights and other human rights documents, the outlet said.

The public debate took place throughout Wednesday with incomplete information, because the Ministry of the Interior had not responded to requests for information about the contents of the previous, let alone the current, draft decision and draft memorandum.

In an interview with HS even before the new decision was made, the academician and professor emeritus Martti Koskenniemi predicted the outcome.

He recalled that the European Court of Human Rights had accepted ‘excessive’ tightening and a significant reduction of border crossing points in various situations, as long as the ‘genuine and actual possibility to apply for asylum’ remained.

‘I understand well those who say that closing the entire eastern border will eliminate the real possibility of applying for asylum’, Koskenniemi said.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Do remember to come back and check The Euro Weekly News website for all your up-to-date local and international news stories and remember, you can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com

Comments